THE REAL PEOPLE'S REPRESENTATIVE

by CHERYL L. DAYTEC



Bae Bibiyaon Ligkayan Bigkay, the only female tribal chieftain in Mindanao, proved her mettle by dressing down North Cotabato Congresswoman Nancy Catamco for the latter's act of further exposing the indigenous  Manobos to militarization and human rights violations. The Manobos fled their village and sought refuge in Davao City because of military and paramilitary Alamara's presence. They were subjected to daily harassment and had to parry accusations of being members of the revolutionary group New People's Army.

For media mileage and political points, this cerebrally-unendowed pathetic excuse for a Congresswoman named Nancy Catamco brought the police to Davao City to aid her in forcing the Manobos to return to their village. The trespass into the sanctuary provided by the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) was definitely brutal. Scores were hurt.

Using Orwellian parlance, Catamco  announced that she was rescuing the more or less 700 Manobos  from their place of refuge (Figure out that one yourself.)  She acted with condescension while professing to be indigenous herself. When the people- whose culture looks up to sincerity more than power- expressed incredulity when she gave a litany of promises, she   raised her voice at them  and called them stinky. And this is the shocker: She chairs the House of Representatives committee on indigenous peoples.


Undaunted by the indigenous people's rejection of her "assistance," Rep. Catamco  returned to them and tried to give the same old, poisonous wine in the same old poisonous, bottle. She engaged in a virtual  monologue which was essentially double talk.

Then  an old woman spoke. She had no script. She had sheer courage and the issues of her people. Her rhetoric was shorn of euphemisms and subservient tone. She was defiant. For five minutes, she gave a loud  voice to sufferings  that demand to be heard. Each time Rep. Catamco tried to interrupt, she would say, "Shut up! Listen!" That is what representatives should do more than talk: Listen to their principals, the people they claim to represent in the august body called Congress.

All of us who articulate indigenous concerns cannot measure up to the courage and eloquence of  Bae Bibiyaon Likgayan Bigkay. Step aside and forget your ambitions to go to Congress to represent IPs. She's The One!

Let us demystify that body called House of Representatives. To it, let us elect people who walk the streets, not people who walk on clouds. Let us send issues, not ambition. Let us send solutions, not problems. Let us send true-to-life stories, not fairy tales. Let us send hearts, not money. Let us send selflessness, not greed. Let us send human beings, not gods and goddesses.

Let us send this woman.
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